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Fri, Feb 23, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Womens' groups campaign against `On Taiwan' comic


Taiwan womens' groups have launched a campaign against the controversial comic On Taiwan (台灣論), calling on the public to boycott the book that they claim has rubbed salt into the wounds of Taiwan's former comfort women.

The comic, by Japanese author Kobayashi Yoshinori, has sparked a storm of criticism over the right-wing author's depiction of Taiwan comfort women as volunteering to be sex workers during World War II.

Furious with what they call a "twisted" account of history, the womens' groups have begun campaigning against the book and are demanding the comfort women issue be included in Taiwan's textbooks.

"We hope people don't buy the book and show support for our campaign by signing your names. It's only a comic but it might be used by many, especially the younger generation, as a convenient way to learn about history. And that's just not acceptable as it is full of distortion," said Ko Su-lun (葛書倫), executive-general of the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation (婦女救援基金會).

"We hope the government will make reliable accounts of comfort women included in school textbooks so that people in Taiwan and subsequent generations will not be misled by distorted stuff such as this comic," Ko said.

Ko also said they have been very careful not to disturb surviving comfort women with the controversies arising from the book. "We're afraid they'd be hurt again by these twisted accounts," Ko said.

In his comic On Taiwan, Kobayashi cited Shi Wen-lung (許文龍), president of Chi Mei Electronic Corp (奇美電子) and a senior advisor to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), as well as Tsai Kuan-tsan (蔡焜燦), chairman of the Weichuan Electronic Corp, (偉銓電子) as saying that "All the [Taiwan] comfort women were voluntary."

Both Shi and Tsai have refused to comment on the issue or confirm if they were correctly quoted in Kobayashi's book.

Meanwhile People First Party legislators demanded yesterday that Shi and Tsai apologize for their comments in the book about the comfort women. They further asked Chen remove Shi from his position as an advisor to the president.

PFP lawmaker Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) tore the book in half at a news conference yesterday and demanded that Chen dismiss Shi as his adviser.

Wang Ching-feng (王清峰), a lawyer who has led a campaign to demand an official apology from Japan to the sex slaves, said most of Asian comfort women were forced or tricked into taking the job.

Comfort women were forced to have sex with 29 Japanese soldiers a day on average. Some 360,000 women were drafted to serve the 3 million Japanese soldiers fighting in China and Southeast Asian countries, Wang said.

Kobayashi's previous book, On War (戰爭論) also triggered no end of controversy for its depiction of the Nanking Massacre by the Japanese army in World War II.

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